No, the Met Gala is not distasteful
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The Met Gala is a charity event for the Costume Institute
The Met Gala is not thrown simply for reasons of vanity - it is a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. Each year the event raises millions of dollars to be put towards the curation and maintenance of the Institute.
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The Met Gala at its core is a massive charity event. The event itself is formally entitled Costume Institute Gala or the Costume Institute Benefit. All proceeds from the event go to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Since the beginning of Anna Wintour’s role as co-chair of the Gala, she has helped to raise an estimated 200 million dollars for the Costume Institute. Each year the Met Gala raises six to seven figures. As such, the event has consistently been the Institute’s largest source of annual funding for many years. This money goes towards maintaining the institute’s vast fashion collection as well as chiefly being used towards hosting the spring exhibition at the museum. Additionally, some designers also auction off their Met Gala gowns and donate the proceeds to charity. For example, in 2018, Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing sold all of his Met Gala designs and donated the proceeds to RED, an organization working to raise awareness to eliminate HIV/AIDS.
While the Met Gala may raise money for an educational cause, much money is squandered on the excessive extravagance of the night. If less money was initially put towards the event (which is often used in wasteful and superficial ways), the event would have even more money by the end of the night. Moreover, the money goes towards the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. While an educational cause, the millions of dollars earned via charity as well as the money spent on the night would certainly do more good put towards a more charitable cause. There is no need for a single exhibit to receive upwards of ten million dollars yearly. In this way, while the Met Gala certainly is a charity event, it is certainly not the most productive nor helpful.